A friend mentioned last night that those of us who are working during this pandemic are heroes. That we are courageous, running towards the fight instead of away from it. I’ve never considered myself to be a hero. I am a nurse and I am doing my job in this very unusual time. I’ve never considered my self to be running towards the fight; I’m simply running towards those who need me.

When I think of the heroes in this fight, I think of those working at the store, so that we can all have food on our table. I think of those working at the gas station so that I can get to work every day. I think of those cleaning the floors and wiping down all the surfaces to protect us all as best as they are able. I think of those behind the scenes researching, pushing to find a cure. I think of those on the front lines, working in the emergency departments and screening stations.

But then I realized, to my sweet residents, we are heroes. Every day we come to work, get screened, change our clothes, put on our masks and face another day. We keep up with the constantly changing directives that are put in place to keep this vulnerable population safe. We try to bring a smile to the face of someone who is now cutoff from their family. We cry right along with the one, who feels lost and alone in this strange new “normal”.

So how does it feel to be a hero? It feels like sweat. It feels like frustration. It feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. It feels like fear, that I will somehow contaminate one of these precious ones. It feels like loss as I leave my kids day after day to go and care for others. But it also feels like joy. I am grateful for everyday that we go without illness. I smile when I say something silly that brings a smile to a lonely face. I feel purpose and determination. I feel hope that we will get through this.

So what is a hero? It is simply the one who shows up, to do what must be done. It is the mom at home trying to manage it all. It is the Grandpa who can’t take his grand kids fishing. It is the front line staff, the unseen workers, and everyone in between. We all have a part to play in this strange new world and we are all heroes.

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